Welcome to Review Revue, where every Thursday I dig through the KEXP stacks to share DJ reviews and comments written on the covers of LPs (and occasionally CDs) in the ’80s and ’90s, when the station was called KCMU, the DJs were volunteers, and people shared their opinions on little white labels instead of the internet.
Barkmarket is a band that I have been aware of for many years, but not listened to much, if at all. I blame the fact that, while I had a dear friend who sang their praises, this was before the time when one could just instantly, magically, listen to almost anything that had ever been released. I never saw them play or heard them on the radio (that I remember), and he never put them on a mix for me, so alas, I went Barkmarketless for far too long. Which is too bad, because they really seem like they'd be right up my alley. Maybe you've never even heard of Barkmarket, which is understandable. They never quite broke through, although they had their moment, as did so many loud and weird bands in the '90s. They were one of the first bands signed to American Records, which I guess means they were labelmates with Johnny Cash? Alas — again, like so many loud and weird bands in the '90s — they split up before breaking through to wider recognition.
Singer/guitarist Dave Sardy's name might be even less familiar than that of Barkmarket, but you have likely heard his work. He's been an incredibly busy and in-demand audio engineer on a wide variety of musical projects over the past couple decades. Recent albums he's worked on that you might have heard include LCD Soundsystem's American Dream, The Head and the Heart's Signs of Light, and many more . . . all the way back to Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral (which, of course, included the original version of "Hurt" — another Johnny Cash connection!). A far cry from the noisy, gritty days of 1-800-Godhouse.
"OK, so they play on the old anti-fundamentalist thing - but this is still a good record. If you want a name-drop, try the Birthday Party (?). Oh yeah, they're from NY I think." [Yes, they were.]
"This is too good to be in L. Trade places with that Shriekback."
"No, drop Cindytalk instead. Has merits. Play it."
"I agree with Phil! Oh no! (Just kidding.)"